Not so elite after all

August 10, 2007

Amanda Root is a little too cavalier with the facts ("The choice is there - but not for everyone", Features, August 3).

Laura Spence was interviewed for a place at Oxford University; she lost out to other state-school students who - presumably - showed more promise at the time.

And it is hardly surprising that Andrew Dilnot [principal of St Hugh's] is the first head of an Oxford college to have attended a comprehensive school; most heads of colleges left school some years before comprehensives were established. Five years ago, four of us were alumni or alumnae of Christ's Hospital, as anti-elitist an institution as you could hope to find.

As to the larger issue, applicants to Oxford University are pretty much a random sample of school students who are about to get three As in the appropriate academic subjects, and successful applicants are pretty much a random sample of the applicants.

Alan Ryan
New College, Oxford

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